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EU President Ursula von der Leyen visits border to stand by Finland against Russian ‘hybrid attacks’

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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen visited Finland’s border with Russia Friday, vowing to stand by Finland against what she called Russian hybrid attacks.

She joined Finland Prime Minister Petteri Orpo at the Imatra border crossing and for bilateral discussions on the situation at the border.

“Russia’s hybrid attacks are not just about Finland’s security.” von der Leyen said on X.

“This is about the security of the entire EU. This is why I was here today.” She added that she came to the border to tell Finland “that Europe stands by your side. For the security of the borders and to support the border regions.”

Finland announced April 4 that it was closing its border with Russia until further notice due to what Finland described as “instrumentalized migration” used by Russia to try to destabilize Finland by sending undocumented migrants to Finnish border crossings.

“The official border crossing points at the eastern border are now closed. With the arrival of spring and milder weather, there is a growing risk that Russia will encourage people to try to cross the border into Finland illegally between official crossing points,” Orpo said in a statement.

Orpo said he would like to see an EU-wide solution to protect member states from being targeted by instrumentalized migration.

He said Finland’s main message to von der Leyen was that “keeping Eastern Finland inhabited is very important for Finland.

“It is essential for this to be taken into account in EU funding and in the program for the next Commission,” he said.

Orpo and von der Leyen flew by helicopter from Lappeenranta to the Imatra border crossing. Finland Interior Minister Mari Rantanen gave von der Leyen an overview of the border issues.

Finland has said that Russia has a strategy of intentionally sending large numbers of migrants to Finland’s borders as a means to weaken or destabilize the country.

Source: Miami Herald

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